Sacramento Bee production center talks begin

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Contract Talks Open at Sacramento Bee and McClatchy Editorial Production Unit

Guild officers and representatives of the Bee management team met Wednesday at the Sacramento Hilton to discuss a new contract for McClatchy Co.’s editorial production center and key parts of the Sacramento Bee contract covering newsroom and advertising staff.

Representing the Bee were managers Linda Brooks, Rita Blomster and Gary Strong, and attorney Robert Ford. On the guild side were Sacramento copy editor Ed Fishbein and reporter Ed Fletcher, along with Local 39521 Executive Officer Carl Hall and staff rep Kat Anderson.

The production center contract expires at the end of this year, as does the Modesto Bee Guild contract. A separate contract covering the Sacramento Bee newsroom and ad staff continues another year, but is subject to annual reopeners on economic and other issues. The Fresno Bee contract runs to the end of 2016, but also has a reopener pending.

The Guild is pushing for economic and benefit gains at all McClatchy units. The Sacramento managers on Wednesday outlined what appeared to be a modest list of desired changes, including some characterized as housekeeping.

One of the main questions yet to be answered is the corporate budget for employee raises. Brooks said economic conditions remain difficult, but the steep declines in revenues experienced in recent years appear to have leveled off. Brooks said the Sacramento management submitted a budget to McClatchy. It includes an unspecified amount for the merit pool. Further information on the budget is expected within a few weeks.

Our contracts now include a process for distributing merit raises by performance, including challenge rights for unfair reviews and minimum pay guarantees. The Guild has proposed new 3-year contracts that would include across-the-board pay increases of 3 percent in each year, with no unpaid furloughs. Management said it wants to avoid resorting to the furlough option again, but will seek the right to impose furloughs if necessary.

The company also is proposing a change in vacation rules that would allow all employees to get one of the major holidays off every three years. Current practice allows the most senior employees to claim those holiday periods every year.

The company is also asking for greater flexibility in increasing or decreasing goals for advertising employees. It also proposed extending the deadline for fixing the quarterly sales goals. Brooks also said there was interest in pushing advertising sales people to sell online ads without the assistance of a digital specialist.

Guild officers said they would respond to the advertising proposals only after providing an opportunity for front-line sales staff to consider the proposals and any alternatives.

Negotiations are set to continue November 19 in Sacramento, when the first detailed written proposals are expected to be discussed.  Guild members are invited to observe any negotiating session.

 

Modesto Bee negotiations begin

MODBEE-Small Modesto ButtonThe guild and company opened negotiations on the full contract Tuesday. The current contract expires Dec. 31. All areas of the contract will be open during this time including wages, benefits, expenses, work schedules, job functions and severance pay.

Meeting for the guild was Executive Officer Carl Hall, Administrative Officer Kat Anderson, Modesto Unit Chair Marijke Rowland and Bee reporter Joanne Sbranti. At the table for the company was McClatchy attorney Bob Ford, Editor Joe Kieta and VP of Human Resources Cathy Allison.

The general tone of the initial meeting was cordial. The company and guild laid out their respective areas of interest and issues they hope to address during bargaining. General concepts were shared, though no formal written proposals were exchanged.

Highlights from the company’s concept proposals:
- Benefits: To “centralize” and create more uniform language which could include health insurance, sick leave, short and long-term disability and vacation benefits.
- Job Functions: Look at requiring all reporters to take photographs and other non-reporting functions and also judging them on that non-reporting work in reviews. (And vice versa for photographers). Currently the contract allows them to assign reporters to take photos and vice versa, but cannot review them on the quality of the work produced (the exception for this is new hires since the date of the last contract).
- Split-Shift: Create a split-shift work schedule, which would mean reporters could be required to work morning and evening shifts in the same day.
- Mobile Reporter: Create a “mobile reporter” job description that would have a reporter in the field and not in the office.
- Furloughs: The company wants to have the right to do furloughs. In the last furlough agreement, the company used all four weeks of furlough that were granted in a three-year period.

Highlights from the guild’s concept proposals:
- Wages: Increases to wages, merit increase ratios, review of minimums and request for no pay reductions during the course of the contract.
- Severance: Lift the 26-week cap on severance pay.
- Job Security: Add language to provide for voluntary termination incentives (buyouts) prior to layoffs. Provide notice pay for employees laid off involuntarily.
- Vacation: Add a fifth week of vacation with 10 years of service.
- Sick Leave: Provide for an additional floating holiday and/or a wellness day.
- Expenses: Increase cell/data reimbursements, raise mileage reimbursement rate to IRS rate, review numbers in auto insurance reimbursements.

The guild and company will meet again at 1 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Teamsters Hall, at I and 13th streets. You are welcome and encouraged to attend any or all of the negotiations. Feel free to bring your lunch and sit in.

Once a final contract is negotiated, only dues-paying members will be allowed to vote to ratify. The terms of the contract will cover all of the non-managerial employees in the Modesto newsroom. Please consider joining (or rejoining) the guild during this critical time. Dues are $48.53 a month for reporters/photographers under six years of experience or $55.71 a month for those with more than six years experience.

If you have questions on any of the concept proposals raised today, joining the guild or anything else, feel free to ask.

Sincerely,
Marijke Rowland
Modesto Unit Chair

Modesto Bee bargaining team: Marijke Rowland, Joanne Sbranti, Carl Hall (guild staff) and Kat Anderson (guild staff)

Company bargaining team: Joe Kiete, Cathy Allison, and Bob Ford (counsel)

BANG East Bay negotiations reveal possible sale by year’s end

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Guild negotiators met with management representatives Thursday in Pleasanton to present a new proposal in light of recent strategic developments involving Digital First Media.

The Guild proposed “an extension, plus,” meaning an extension of the current contract on a shortened timeline ending June 30, 2015 (rather than a typical one-year term). In addition, we are asking for 2% lump sum bonuses and two unrestricted paid days off to add to the contractual vacation accrual.

Management representatives Marshall Anstandig and Shannon Hogan took the Guild proposal under advisement acknowledging that they might respond informally in about a week.

In addition, management representatives spoke in candor about Digital First’s exploration of strategic alternatives, saying that there had been interest from parties in signing non-disclosure agreements and viewing related financials. The company could have an announcement about the sale process before the end of the year.

No new negotiations have been set.

Guild Unit representatives:
George Kelly, BANG East Bay unit chair
Kat Anderson, Pacific Media Workers Guild administrative officer
Darren Carroll, The Newspaper Guild international representative

Management representatives:
Marshall Anstandig
Shannon Hogan

Bargaining frustration continues

Purple Bargaining Update #19

ASLIU and Purple negotiators met on Wednesday, and once again failed to reach agreement on a first contract. The most noteworthy feature of the meeting was management’s near total lack of preparation.

The agreed-upon starting time for the meeting was 10:00 a.m. and ASLIU, hoping for a productive day, told the company we would be ready to meet as early as 8:30 a.m. Instead, the management team used much of the morning for internal discussions. When the meeting finally did begin at 10:40 a.m., they presented a proposal that was not new, but a corrected version of a proposal they made in August. They did, at least, report on some technical concerns they had promised to look into at the August meeting. But it was very evident that checking into the IT issue was about all the attention they had given these negotiations since our last meeting.

One glaring example of the company team’s lack of preparation was their failure to even decide on a time frame for their proposed wage reopener. The proposal they currently have on the table is for the reopener to begin in November 2014 for wages to be paid beginning January 2015. ASLIU spokesperson Bruce Meachum pointed out that if that is the date they want, then we are already in the negotiation and don’t need to reopen. Bob Kane, the attorney representing Purple at the table said that the situation “has obviously changed.” Kane said they would have a proposal over the issue sometime soon.

Albeit glacial, there was some movement that ended with the two sides agreeing on types of reports that employees should receive. The union has been insisting all along that VIs cannot be fairly evaluated if they don’t have the information necessary to see how they are performing. When we have a contract, this provision will ensure that VIs do have access to that information.

Both sides agreed that, given the few issues left on the table, another face-to-face meeting is probably not needed at this time. Proposals and responses will be sent by email with discussion by telephone.

Two significant issues are among those few remaining: A fail-safe plan that actually affords VIs at least a modicum of protection against injury, and limitations against the company including uncontrollable time off the phones (management meetings; power failures; fire drills, etc.) in an employee’s KPI requirements.

Another issue still on the table is the health plan. The unfair labor practice committed by the company when it unilaterally increased premiums and deductibles is scheduled for a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board in Denver on November 19. This is the issue that resulted in our one-day strike.

The bargaining team thanks you for your patience and support. In standing strong, you have been magnificent. We’re not sure why Purple seems to be dragging this process out, but if it’s because they have forgotten what ASLIU is about and how we union VIs stand together, we won’t hesitate to remind them.

ASLIU National Bargaining Team:                                                  

Mary Jane Moore, Arizona: National Unit Chair              Lindsey Antle, Denver: National Vice Chair

Margie Brooks, Member at Large                                     Michelle Caplette, Arizona: National Vice Chair

Laurie Rivard, Oakland: National Vice Chair                   Martin Yost, San Diego: National Vice Chair

Bruce Meachum, PMWG Representative: Chief Spokesperson

No contract yet

ASLIU logoPurple Bargaining Update #18

While ASLIU and Purple representatives inched closer on a key article when they met last Thursday in San Francisco, overall agreement on a first-ever union contract for VIs remained frustratingly elusive.

While disappointed that more wasn’t achieved in the meeting, the ASLIU team remains optimistic that the contract is now within reach. These negotiations haven’t been easy for either side. Both sides have had to make sometimes painful adjustments to their initial positions to find workable compromises. The continued strong support of the memberhsip has been the key factor for us throughout the bargaining. Without that support, we could have achieved nothing. With it, we have been able to negotiate strong protections against unfair treatment and some positive – although not always perfect – changes to working conditions.

Our goal now is to make the finishing touches and bring a contract to you for ratification as quickly as possible. We expect to continue to move in that direction when we next meet with management in San Diego on September 24.

ASLIU National Bargaining Team:

Mary Jane Moore, Arizona: National Unit Chair
Lindsey Antle, Denver: National Vice Chair
Margie Brooks, Member at Large
Michelle Caplette, Arizona: National Vice Chair
Laurie Rivard, Oakland: National Vice Chair
Martin Yost, San Diego: National Vice Chair
Bruce Meachum, PMWG Representative: Chief Spokesperson

Closer, but still no deal

Purple Bargaining Update #17

Compromise was the name of the game when Purple Communications and ASLIU negotiators met in San Francisco last Thursday after nearly four months away from the bargaining table. Absolute agreements on individual issues were elusive during the full day of negotiations, but in many cases the remaining differences are now relatively minor. After the session, the ASLIU team expressed guarded optimism that both sides’ willingness to modify previous hard-line positions may have set the stage for a deal on the entire contract.

But compromise is not easy.

“These are by far the toughest decisions we’ve had to face,” said one ASLIU negotiator, “but we’ve already won a lot and the most important thing is to preserve those gains – and the ones we’re still negotiating – with a signed contract.”

Because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations at this point, we don’t want to go into too much detail here. We are hopeful that we will have a full agreement to bring to you for ratification in the near future.

The two sides are set to meet again on September 11 at a yet-to-be-determined location.

NLRB Issues Complaint Against Purple for Health-Care Change

The National Labor Relations Board last week issued the expected formal complaint against Purple for instituting changes to the health-care plan without first negotiating with the Union.

The disputed changes include an increase in the percentage of premium paid by an employee from 25% to 30% for dependent coverage; increases in the deductibles of Core PPO for both in and out of network; and an increase in the Buy-Up out-of-network deductible.

A hearing before an administrative law judge is scheduled to be held in Denver on November 18.

ASLIU National Bargaining Team:

Mary Jane Moore, Arizona: National Unit Chair
Lindsey Antle, Denver: National Vice Chair
Margie Brooks, Member at Large
Michelle Caplette, Arizona: National Vice Chair
Laurie Rivard, Oakland: National Vice Chair
Martin Yost, San Diego: National Vice Chair
Bruce Meachum, PMWG Representative: Chief Spokesperson

Labor board agrees with union on health care changes

ASLIU logoASLIU employees who struck Purple Communications for one day over alleged improper changes to the health-care plan were in the right according to the National Labor Relations Board.

The Board has informed the Union that it is prepared to issue a complaint against Purple for unilaterally instituting increases to health-care costs. Under the law, the company is required to negotiate with the union before making changes to wages, hours, or working conditions. Purple gave the union no legitimate chance to bargain over the increases in premiums and deductibles before implementing them in May.

The Board will give the company an opportunity to settle the case without litigation by returning to previous premium levels and deductibles and reimbursing employees for the difference in their costs. Should the company refuse to settle on those terms, the Board will issue the complaint and prosecute the case before an administrative law judge. It is unclear whether the hearing would be held in Denver, where the charges against all four centers were investigated, or in California, where the majority of witnesses and representatives reside and work.

The entire process could take some time but we are confident that, ultimately, the company will have to undo the cost hikes for employees in the four unionized centers and reimburse those employee for any extra expense resulting from the illegal change to benefits. What will happen in the non-union centers, where the company can do pretty much whatever it wants, is unclear and will be up to the company to decide.

Dog Days for Summer Bargaining Schedule

ASLIU has been attempting to schedule another contract bargaining session with Purple, but the effort has been severely hampered by the summer vacation scheduling for both sides. We are now looking at late July or August to find a date that everyone can make. We will let you know when we have a meeting arranged.

 

 

 

 

ASLIU Members Stand Tall

That ASLIU has “arrived” as a union with a highly committed membership was demonstrated beyond any doubt on May 5 when members took to the streets in a one-day strike to protest Purple’s imposition of changes to the health-care plan. Nearly all of Purple’s unionized employees in Denver, Oakland, San Diego and Tempe participated in the strike, even though only a minority of those employees, the full-timers, will be impacted by the increases in health-care costs.

Reports from the picket lines and from ASLIU local officers reveal that only three of the 150 employees in the four centers chose to cross the picket line and go to work that Monday.

How We Got Here

The May 5 strike was triggered by the company’s blatant disregard for ASLIU’s right to bargain over changes to the health-care plan.

Purple didn’t even bother to notify the union that it was contemplating increases in deductibles and in the employee share of dependent coverage until March 21. By that time, the deal on deductibles had already been cut with the insurance provider and the decision to change the employer/employee ratio of premium cost had already been made. There was no opportunity left for the union to bargain over the changes.

In two subsequent bargaining meetings, on March 27 and April 9, the union said it was willing to talk about the changes in the context of an entire contract, but did not agree to them as a stand-alone change of employee benefits.

Instead of withdrawing the proposed changes until they could be negotiated fairly, the company made an incredibly lame offer for a swap. In exchange for increasing the health-care costs for our members, they would offer internet access in the workstations. The offered “trade” was not only ludicrous on the face of it, it was essentially meaningless. The union had already negotiated a tentative contract clause for providing internet access once the contract is ratified.

When ASLIU negotiators rejected the company’s offer, they were informed that the health-care changes (and the internet access) would be implemented, anyway. At that point, ASLIU leaders felt that a strong response was required and began to plan the strike.

What’s Next?

ASLIU has filed unfair labor practice charges in all four regions of the National Labor Relations Board where the union Purple centers are located. The union expects the charges to be upheld after the Board investigation and hearing process, which could take some time. One remedy of winning could well be that Purple will be ordered to reimburse employees for extra costs incurred as a result of the changes.

The union does not plan to be idle while the Board process plays out. Besides wanting to remedy Purple’s violation of the law, we still have our eye on the bigger prize: A contract. We are seeking to schedule another negotiating meeting with the company but, because of summer vacation scheduling conflicts, we don’t expect that to happen until sometime in mid-July. While we wait, we will continue to look for ways to exert pressure on this company to achieve our goals. We won’t stop until the more reasonable minds at Purple prevail and we have a fair contract. They certainly know now that our union – all of us – will fight for what we believe to be right. We are in this together, and we’re in for as long as it takes.

 

 

 

 

Fresno Bee members ratify a 3-year contract

Fresno Bee Guild member Barbara Anderson just voted to ratify a new three-year contract.  Photo courtesy Bethany Clough 2014.

Fresno Bee Guild member Barbara Anderson just voted to ratify a new three-year contract. Photo courtesy Bethany Clough 2014.

After six months of bargaining, Fresno Bee Guild members voted Thursday to approve a new three-year contract. A huge thank you goes out to all of you who participated at the bargaining table or gave feedback on the social media policy and other issues. Times are still tough, but the Guild had several wins in this contract, including the addition of a side letter to the social media policy that has major protections for employees, a mileage stipend for photographers, an agreement that the company ask for buyouts before doing layoffs and additional notice should a consolidation of copy desks happen.

Expect to see the social media side letter distributed soon. The bargaining on that topic is a prime example of the Guild’s importance. McClatchy newspapers without unions don’t have the additional protections that we won.

Here’s a summary of the agreement:

Duration: Three years, expiring December 31, 2016.

Wages: Pay will be frozen in year one, with wage re-openers in years two and three.

Health insurance: We will still receive the same benefits and options as management and other non-represented employees, though there were administrative changes to the language, consistent with similar changes negotiated in Sacramento.

Expenses: Mileage will rise to 44 cents effective June 1, though the contract still will state that we receive the same reimbursement as non-represented employees. In addition, photographers now will receive a $10 per week stipend in addition to their mileage guarantee.

Jurisdiction: Our agreement makes clear that the company can assign non-bargaining unit work to Guild employees – a change negotiated in the event that a copy desk hub is created in Fresno.

Part-time and temporary employees: Management now can continue the employment of an employee in a student job for up to three months after the employee no longer is a student.

Senior writer: Management will have the right to designate up to three reporters as “senior writers,” — two at first, a third effective January 2015 — similar to a provision in the Sacramento agreement. Employees so designated will be exempt from overtime and will be paid no less than the columnist scale. An employee has the right to refuse the senior writer designation. Any employee who accepts the designation as senior writer has the right to return to his or her former classification upon 30 days’ notice to management.

Layoffs: We negotiated modest, discretionary language stating that the company will request buyouts before layoffs.

Sick leave: The six-month waiting period for new full-time employees will be eliminated. The threshold for sick leave eligibility will rise from 20 to 30 hours effective January 1, 2015; the only current employee who would be affected by that change will be grandfathered.

Furloughs: Management will have the right to implement up to one week of unpaid furlough in each year of the agreement, plus one additional week during the term of the contract. (That’s a maximum of four furloughs during the three-year agreement – the same as our expired contract.)

Copy desk: We negotiated a new transition agreement for copy editors who might be affected by a possible work transfer from Fresno to the Editorial Production Center in Sacramento. The agreement largely is patterned on an agreement made for Modesto copy editors who moved to Sacramento. It includes a job guarantee at the new production center; up to $5,000 in moving expenses; a transition bonus of one week of pay for each year of service for each copy editor who takes a job in Sacramento; and other benefits. One key difference between the Modesto and Fresno transition agreements involves severance pay; our severance in Fresno has a more generous grandfathering provision for employees eligible for more than 26 weeks of severance, and the transition agreement accounts for that. We also negotiated an additional 90-day notice of plans to consolidate the department, which would be in addition to the 30-day notice to individuals that their job is moving in the existing agreement. The company also agreed to make a “good faith” effort to help employees laid off from consolidation find alternative positions at the Bee that they are qualified for.

Social media policy: The policy that already has been ratified in Modesto and Sacramento will become part of the Fresno contract. It addresses many of the concerns raised by members in Fresno, as well as by Guild members in Modesto and Sacramento.

Your Guild negotiators included Unit Chair Bethany Clough, Sarah Nettels, Donald Munro, Mike Reddin, Delton Lowery, Barbara Anderson, Joshua Tehee, Craig Kohlruss and Guild representative Darren Carroll.

The company negotiators included attorney Bob Ford, HR Director Mark Ochinero, and John Rich.

Purple gets an earful during ULP strike

 

ASLIU's one-day ULP strike in Oakland

Anthony Brown, American sign language interpreter, is part of a one-day strike against Purple Communications in Oakland. Photo by David Bacon 2014.

ASLIU ULP strike against Purple in Oakland

ASLIU member Anthony Brown shows passersby in Oakland why Purple Communications is unfair to its workers. Photo by Local 39521 staff 2014.

ASLIU members in Arizona

ASLIU members in Arizona show their solidarity in the early morning of May 5, 2014 during the union's ULP strike against Purple Communications - a coordinated event in 3 states. Photo courtesy CWA staff 2014.

ASLIU ULP strike in Oakland

ASLIU supporters Anthony and Earl picket outside of Purple Communications in Oakland as part of a one-day Unfair Labor Practice strike. Purple has been charged with violating workers' rights in its video relay services operations. The FCC also claims that Purple over-billed for services, and is mulling an $11 million claim against the company. Photo by Local 39521 staff 2014.

ASLIU members in ULP strike in Denver

ASLIU members in Denver make the ULP strike a family affair. Photo courtesy CWA staff 2014.

ASLIU ULP strike in San Diego

ASLIU members in one-day ULP strike against Purple Communications. Photo courtesy CWA staff 2014.

 

American Sign Language interpreter members of Pacific Media Workers Guild Local 39521 are in a one-day ULP strike at the headquarters of Purple Communications in Oakland. Purple is a video relay service that enables hard of hearing and deaf people to make phone calls. Purple has been accused of numerous unfair labor practices and improper billing to the FCC, which funds Purple's operations. Photo by Kat Anderson 2014.

Local executive officer Carl Hall, center, played harmonica during picketing at the Oakland Purple Communications worksite Monday morning. Photo by Local 39521 staff 2014.

American Sign Language interpreters struck Purple Communications Inc. on Monday in a lively show of outrage over the company’s latest unfair labor practices.

Members of ASL Interpreters United, an affiliate of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521, carried picket signs outside unionized Purple worksites in Oakland, Denver, San Diego and Tempe, Ariz., declaring the interpreters were “stronger together.”

Only a handful of union-covered workers showed up intending to work at the four sites. In some locations, strike participation was close to 100 percent.

Members made video testimonials to help explain why the battle with Purple is so important. The mother of an interpreter in San Diego made 90 tamales for the picket line participants. Supporters joined the picket lines in a steady show of public and labor support that included teachers, nurses, postal workers and truck drivers.

ASLIU members in San Diego were treated to tamales by a supportive mom.  Photo courtesy CWA staff 2014.

ASLIU members in San Diego were treated to tamales by a supportive mom. Photo courtesy CWA staff 2014.

“I love all the strong community support,” Laurie Rivard, an ASL interpreter and union leader, said during the Oakland picketing, where horns honked throughout the day.

Anthony Brown, one of the more energetic Oakland strikers, kept in nearly constant motion, trotting along beside cars and city buses passing in front of Purple’s office along a busy downtown intersection.

It was chilly in California. In Tempe, Ariz., the thermometers were reading in the triple digits.

The Arizona picketers included three supporters from the deaf community. Local media picked up the story and the union press release was posted on social media.

Email access through the company’s servers appeared to be blocked at least temporarily at some locations, according to unconfirmed reports.

ASLIU members in one-day ULP strike against Purple Communications.  Photo courtesy CWA staff 2014.

ASLIU members in one-day ULP strike against Purple Communications. Photo courtesy CWA staff 2014.

The unfair labor practice strike was a one-day protest called when the company chose to implement changes in health care benefits, without bothering to reach an agreement with union negotiators. The strike ended at 6 p.m. Monday.

Changes in terms and conditions generally must remain status quo without a union agreement, except in cases of bona fide impasse or other rare exceptions. At Purple, health care is a critical issue, because the interpreters have been forced to skip breaks in a profit-driven speedup.

The company, based in Rocklin, Calif., provides video-relay-service interpretation through the telephone network, through a program regulated and subsidized by the federal government. ASL interpreters suffer a high risk of workplace injury if they are forced to keep signing more than 20 minutes at a stretch.

ASLIU supporters Anthony and Earl picket outside of Purple Communications in Oakland as part of a one-day Unfair Labor Practice strike.  Purple has been charged with violating workers' rights in its video relay services operations. The FCC also claims that Purple over-billed for services, and is mulling an $11 million claim against the company.  Photo by Local 39521 staff 2014.

ASLIU supporters Anthony and Earl picket outside of Purple Communications in Oakland as part of a one-day Unfair Labor Practice strike. Photo by Local 39521 staff 2014.

That’s one of the main reasons the interpreters organized 18 months ago. The ASL unit has been in negotiations for an initial labor agreement. One of the main issues in the talks involves how much time the interpreter must spend on calls.

Monday’s strike focused on the unfair manner in which the company changed the terms of employee health coverage. The ongoing threat to on-the-job safety was a major topic of conversation as well.

“This is about safety and health care,” said Carol Day, a veteran ASL interpreter who was picketing and handing out leaflets in downtown Oakland.

Fifteen picketers started at dawn outside Purple’s San Diego worksite. The crowd nearly doubled by mid-day, as members of SEIU and other unions, students and community activists joined in. Passing drivers kept up a steady soundtrack with horns honking in solidarity.

Emmalyn Spencer, snug in her baby stroller while her mom, Susan, carried a picket sign outside the Denver worksite, was the youngest participant in the Monday street action.

Emmalyn Spencer was the youngest participant in the Monday street action at Purple's offices in Denver.

Emmalyn Spencer was the youngest participant in the Monday street action at Purple’s offices in Denver.

Denver members arrived at 6:20 a.m. and kept up a continuous presence throughout the morning. Five Purple workers have been with us: JoLinda, Beth, Crystal, Sara and Mariah. Representatives of the Denver Guild local, Jobs With Justice and the Postal Workers helped raise the volume.

Purple-colored leaflets proved popular on the Oakland streets, along with chants about the need to put workers, customers and taxpayers ahead of profit interests.

Sara Steffens, acting secretary-treasurer of the Newspaper Guild sector of CWA, joined in at Oakland, her hometown. She recalled serving as an election observer when Purple workers organized as she wielded a plastic clapper noisemaker.

“I’ve been inspired by the workers at Purple,” she said.

Monday’s strike happened to follow announcement last week by the Federal Communications Commission that the agency plans to fine Purple $11.9 million for alleged billing fraud. The company issued a transparent denial Monday at the same time Steffens was making noise at 10th and Broadway.

“We’re not the only ones noticing that this company doesn’t seem to be playing by the rules,” she said.

Carol Day turned out at Purple Communications in Oakland in support of ASLIU members who were on a one-day ULP strike.  Photo by David Bacon 2014.

Carol Day turned out at Purple Communications in Oakland in support of ASLIU members who were on a one-day ULP strike. Photo by David Bacon 2014.

 

ASLIU members in Arizona show their solidarity in the early morning of May 5, 2014 during the union's ULP strike against Purple Communications - a coordinated event in 3 states.  Photo courtesy CWA staff 2014.

ASLIU members in Arizona show their solidarity in the early morning of May 5, 2014 during the union’s ULP strike against Purple Communications – a coordinated event in 3 states. Photo courtesy CWA staff 2014.